"Tell me I'm clever, Tell me I'm kind, Tell me I'm talented, Tell me I'm cute, Tell me I'm sensitive, Graceful and wise, Tell me I'm perfect - But tell me the truth." - Shel Silverstein
When I first started painting in 2009, I wasn’t very good. Sometimes I’d get discouraged, other times I’d be ecstatic because the vision I had in my head translated to my canvas correctly.
How many times have you ever tried to create a drawing or a piece of art that’s turned out to be completely different that what you envisioned in your mind?
For many years I would self-sabotage - create something good, struggle, give up, start again, repeat. Then I found if I had someone or something like a show or an event to get prep for, my muse was on fire, but just like before, I’d create something moving ahead with great momentum, struggle or get discouraged when it wouldn’t sell, give up, start again, repeat.
In 2015, I’ve unbeknownst challenged myself. At the beginning of the year I signed up for two art shows, and while my sales were less than stellar, I decided to not give up this time. I decided to push through the ugly times, push through the down times when I had no one and nothing to create for. I took the pressure off of myself for creating something that had to make it big, or whatever, and had to show up to create simply for myself.
My first challenge was back in between February and April. I titled it #58 Day Challenge. I had to prove to myself that I was ready to take my art serious, and let the universe know that I was no longer going to walk away and abandoned my talent because I allowed the negative voices to control my actions. I was ready to control my actions myself. So I did it. I finished my first self-imposed challenge in 58 days leading up to my birthday in April.
During the time I decided to sign up for the Mission Viejo Arts Alive Festival for the third year in a row. Only this time I wasn’t going to just be a vendor, I showed up to market myself as an art teacher, because that’s what I announced the prior year, I remember the words so clearly, “Next year I am going to be here teaching art.” And at the ninth or tenth hour I did. I was nervous as hell, but ended up having so much fun and feeling so much joy, as I thought to myself, “So this is what it’s supposed to feel like?!”
That then challenged me to get a legit website up and running, which I did! Score. And then I had to write the copy for my offerings page, which I quickly found out, had written several times before. Thank goodness I keep all of my notebooks. I also had to design the logos and edit the photos, which was fun, but time consuming. But you know what, I showed up and did it.
And now as we head into summer, I find there are days I am inspired to paint, and other days that I am not. I have not created a real series of artwork, but that’s OK. As an intuitive painter, I have to follow my heart. If that means painting four purple paintings full of texture and bright colors, that’s what I am going to do. And from there if I want to create series of simple, painted illustrations on wood, then that’s what I am going to do.
I’ve finally reached a point where I am not worrying about what everyone else is doing. Yes, there are still a handful of artists who I follow on Instagram and whose blogs I read, but most importantly, this year I’ve learned to lean in and follow joy, whatever that may be.
Because I am inspired.
Because I am an artist.
Because I am a teacher.
Because I want to share my joy with others.
Most importantly, I’ve shown up and believed in myself. Sure there are still days when I feel down, or I don’t want to create, but instead of throwing in the towel, I plot myself down in front of my art and simply start. This allows me to push through the thick mud and self-doubt. I now coach myself when I am feeling discouraged, instead of giving up, reminding myself that art is meant to connect and serve others. So I’ll ask myself, “How can I share my message with others?”